After a very pleasant day doing nothing in particular Ryan and I had just put the kids to bed and were settling in for an evening of junk food and Dateline when Charlie started screaming. Ryan sighed and looked at me. I rolled my eyes. Then Charlie ran from his room to the top of the stairs, screamed incoherently, and shrieked "I NEED YOU TO COME UP HERE!" before dissolving into hysterics again.
Well that was a little out of the ordinary.
Ryan went upstairs to check things out. I followed when Ryan wasn't able to calm him down. When I arrived, Charlie and Ryan were sitting on our bed, Charlie puffy faced and screaming something about ants.
He finally calmed down enough to speak. "AN ANT BIT MY FOOT!" he wailed.
Charlie is a little weird about ants, but not this weird.
Sure enough, Ryan found a swollen red place with a white bump in the middle on the instep of his right food. Ryan touched it with his finger. Charlie howled in pain and thrashed away from Ryan. I held him and asked him if he had seen the ant that bit him.
He sobbed, "It was like THIS!" and held out a curled index finger. My heart stopped for a moment.
"Charlie, did the ant look a little like a lobster?"
"YEEESSSSSS!" he shrieked, and started sobbing again. Heaving, panicked sobs. I was pretending to be calm. Ryan came back with a flashlight to get a better look. While he inspected the bite I asked Charlie to tell me more about the 'ant'.
"It had a brown head and a black stinger" he sniffled. "And it was ALIVE!." He showed me with his index finger again how it moved its tail when it stung him. It was not an ant. It was a scorpion.
I casually told Charlie I was going to get him some ice for his foot then walked downstairs and dialed the on-call nurse as I frantically Googled "scorpion sting." Finally, I got in touch with someone who said she'd leave a message for the nurse to call me back and that it could take thirty minutes. THIRTY MINUTES. I SAID SCORPION NOT CONGESTION AND FEVER, CRAZY LADY!!!
After a few calming breaths I said in an eerily serene voice "I really need to know if I should take him to the emergency room." She said she'd call the nurse supervisor herself.
Google said you should always take a child with a scorpion sting to the emergency room. I was ready to go, but decided to give the nurse ten minutes to call back to see if I could avoid spending twelve hours sitting in a vinyl chair contracting H1N1 in the middle of the night.
She called back in two minutes and prescribed Tylenol and ice. And she said to observe him for two hours for any signs of seizure, rash, or muscle spasms. And did I have any idea whether the scorpion was brown and black or brown and yellow, because the only deadly scorpion is brown and yellow. Like, hang on, let me just go ask the kid who described a SCORPION as a "Mama Ant" twenty minutes ago to describe it's markings in detail. Sure enough when I asked him what color it was again he said "It's head was light brown and it's stinger was black" and when I asked if it had any yellow markings he said "No" and shook his head. Then "Yes" and nodded. So we kept him awake for two hours for observation. He was more than happy to get out of bed to watch his Charlie Brown movie with Ryan and me.
He seemed fine so Ryan put him back to bed. The scorpion is still at large. Upstairs. With my two little barefoot babies. Ryan thinks we should buy one of these. I want to hunt it down and beat it to death with my shoe. Our pest control guy will be hearing from us in the morning. I expect to see him at our house with a tank of some kind of scorpion neurotoxin by nine-thirty. I'll make extra coffee. For now, I'm going to put on my sneakers and go to bed.